ECONOMY

Banks spur rebound above 3,800 points

The benchmark Athens Exchange (ATHEX) index climbed for the first time in three trading days, adding 1.3 percent to 3,809.13 points. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 index of the country’s biggest companies rose 1.5 percent to 1,967.76 points. The following stocks were the most active in trading: Heracles Cement Co gained 1.5 percent to -16.50, reversing the previous trading day’s losses. The Greek unit of France’s Lafarge said, in an e-mailed press release on March 21, that 2007 profit increased 11 percent to -67.8 million ($106.3 million). Intralot rose 5 percent to -11, the biggest gain in over a month. Citigroup Inc advised investors to «buy» the stock, raising it from «hold.» Michaniki rose 5.7 percent to -4.50, the first gain in three days. Greece’s fifth-largest builder said after the market close that profit last year rose 86 percent to -47.1 million on increased sales. Mytilineos Holdings gained 6.8 percent to -7.80, the biggest gain since February 14. The energy and metals trading group’s 2007 profit rose 83 percent to -193.6 million, the company said in a press release after the close of trading. Several banks performed well. Piraeus surged 5.6 percent, Marfin Popular advanced 4.8 percent, Hellenic Post Bank, the former Postal Savings, gained 4.2 percent and National Bank was 2.3 percent higher. (Bloomberg, Kathimerini)